Lewis Hamilton’s appeal fails and Felipe Massa keeps Belgian Grand Prix win

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

McLaren losing an appeal is hardly news, but anyway, it\'s happened again
McLaren losing an appeal is hardly news, but anyway, it's happened again

Lewis Hamilton was not successful in his appeal against the penalty he received in the Belgian Grand Prix.

The FIA International Court of Appeal’s decision means Felipe Massa remains the winner of the Belgian Grand Prix ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Hamilton.

As was widely expected the FIA threw out the appeal on the grounds that it was inadmissible, despite claims they mis-represented the opinions of one of their own stewards to do so, and contradicted a precedent set when Vitantonio Liuzzi appealed a similar penalty last year. Decision in full below:

International Court of Appeal – Decision

At the Grand Prix of Belgium, run on 7 September 2008, and counting towards the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Stewards of the meeting imposed a drive-through penalty upon the driver of car No. 22, Lewis Hamilton, for a breach of Article 30.3 (a) of the 2008 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Appendix L, Chapter 4, Article 2 (g) of the International Sporting Code.

As the drive-through penalty was imposed at the end of the race, 25 seconds were added to the driver?s elapsed race time in accordance with Article 16.3 of the FIA 2008 Formula One Sporting Regulations.

Article 152 of the International Sporting Code states that drive-through penalties are ??not susceptible to appeal??.

The competitor Vodafone McLaren Mercedes appealed the Steward?s decision before the International Court of Appeal in a hearing in Paris on September 22nd.

Having heard the explanations of the parties the Court has concluded that the appeal is inadmissible.

The International Court of Appeal was presided over by Mr Philippe NARMINO (Monaco), elected President, and composed of Mr Xavier CONESA (Spain), Mr Harry DUIJM (Netherlands), Mr Thierry JULLIARD (Switzerland) and Mr Erich SEDELMAYER (Austria).


Article 16.3 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations provides as follows:

The stewards may impose any one of three penalties on any driver involved in an Incident:

a) A drive-through penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane and re-join the race without stopping.

b) A ten second time penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at his pit for at least ten seconds and then re-join the race.

c) a drop of ten grid positions at the driver?s next Event.

However, should either of the penalties under a) and b) above be imposed during the last five laps, or after the end of a race, Article 16.4b) below will not apply and 25 seconds will be added to the elapsed race time of the driver concerned.

Paragraph 5 of Article 152 of the International Sporting Code provides as follows:

Penalties of driving through or stopping in pit lanes together with certain penalties specified in FIA Championship regulations where this is expressly stated, are not susceptible to appeal.

The FIA verdict in full

164 comments on “Lewis Hamilton’s appeal fails and Felipe Massa keeps Belgian Grand Prix win”

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  1. Sadly, once again the sport has been made to look like the loser.

    In a perfect world you’d hope that the FIA would take a long, hard look at themselves over how they’ve handled this and implement some changes to clean up their act.
    It ain’t gonna happen though is it?

  2. Since the same organization felt the need the clarify and explain the rule they used for the penalty after the penalty was already given, this is further evidence that they don’t really care about fair judgement at all. No surprise.

  3. So we wait 2 days to discover that FIA can’t be trusted :)

    From what was published from yesterday hearing it was logical that FIA will make just a easy escape from all crap which was produced …

    And now my logical question is: what exactly FIA do for Formula 1 ?

    “The FIA has been dedicated to representing the rights of motoring organisations and motor car users throughout the world via campaigns and activities that defend their interests. On issues such as safety, mobility, the environment and consumer law the FIA actively promotes the interests of motorists at the United Nations, within the European Union and through other international bodies.

    The FIA is also the governing body for motor sport worldwide. It administers the rules and regulations for all international four-wheel motor sport including the FIA Formula One World Championship, FIA World Rally Championship and FIA World Touring Car Championship.”

    So far FIA make some real good things for safety …
    But we have total mess of rules and regulations…

    so did Formula 1 really need FIA ?

  4. What an extraordinary waste of time.. how can it be either justice or not when the appeal itself is rejected – which surely could have been decided without the necessity of FIA and Ferrari lawyers cross examining Hamilton and McLaren playing tapes etc.. Just when you think it’s can’t get anymore embarrassing for FIA they pull another blinder.. I’m not generally one for conspiracy theories or partizan team feelings but have got to say there feels like an agenda down at FIA..

  5. I’m not really surprised that the FIA took the easy route of declaring the appeal inadmissible. Are they going to bother to explain how this 25 second penalty is different from Liuzzi’s 25 second penalty in 2007, which explicitly was admissible?

    http://www.fia.com/en-GB/the-fia/court_appeal/judgments/Documents/12-10-2007-ica-ToroRosso-a.pdf [see paragraph 3 on page 3]

  6. Awful but not surprising. What an absolute joke F1 appears to be now.

    I’ve spoken to a few people who don’t know anything about F1 or the rules, but from what they’ve seen in the newspapers etc over the last few weeks, they have come to the obvious conclusion that:

    a. F1 rules and governance are in a mess and not at all clear
    b. the FiA have got in in for Lewis Hamilton big time
    c. is it because he is black?

    Sorry, that is the impression my friends have – actually that seems very much to be the truth also.

  7. The best way to reduce costs in F1, Max?
    Stop holding farcical court cases…

  8. Well I never…
    The FIA is nothing if not predictable.

    The one light of integrity, Charlie Whiting, is sadly dimmed as far as I am concerned.

  9. Awful but not surprising. F1 is now officially a joke.

    I’ve been talking to friends recently about this case who don’t know anything about F1, but have been reading about the case. They have come to the conclusion that

    a. F1 rules and governance are in a mess and totally unclear
    b. the FiA have it in for Lewis Hamilton big time
    c. is it because he is black?

    Well that is the impression they get about F1, and I suppose it’s true as far as I can see, as someone who knows a lot more about it than them. The awful impression is the actuality.

  10. Typical FIA corruption. They listen to the appeal and decided that on the facts McLaren had a case so they then find a loophole to say the appeal is inadmissable. It is absolutely beyond reason to suggest a penalty can be issued 2 hours after a race and cannot be appealed. The reason drive throughs can’t be appealed is because they have to be served within three laps and after that you can’t turn back time.

    You would think that the fact that Charlie Whiting was shown to be a liar when he tried to prove there was no precedent and that in the end his actions shows there was a precedent would be enough to make the appeal admissable. But I guess Tonio Liuzzi wasn’t racing a Ferrari therefore it doesn’t count as precedent.

    How can these people have the nerve to go out in public when they have been proven to be cheats and liars?

  11. Well, I never saw that one coming!!!
    Why did they take so long to come to the conclusion that it was inadmissible?
    Makes you wonder what goes on in the minds of some people

  12. Wrong decision!

    He won fair, and gave the (slight) advantage gained back, overtook and won!

    I still think if it had been a ferrari that hamilton was driving the penalty would not have been applied.

  13. No surprise there, but it looks like Whiting’s reputation will take a bit of a beating. The FIA has been caught in a blatant and childish l lie, and still rule against McLaren. Typical. If Lewis loses the championship this year, Massa should have an asterisk next to his name in the record books.

  14. Well in twenty years i won’t remember the 2008 Spa grand prix for its thrilling last laps, but for its redicule, pathetic decision to disqualify a talented drive and an appeal which was dismissed because they said it was inadmissable.

    Anyone else, what will you remember this race for?

  15. not surprised. its easy to win the championship if the judges are on your side, isn’t it ferrari?

  16. Very suprised

    I thought McLaren were very brave to appeal!!!

    From past FIAT (uuups) FIA rulings it was more likely that the decission be upheld and McLaren and Lewis would be given a four race ban.

    Surely this would have been a more typical??? Perhaps the FIA are trying to clean up their act!!!

  17. oh dear, as expected really.

    The one issue that im not sure about is that IF the stewards said at the time it was a legitimate pass to Martin Whitmarsh then surely they wouldnt have given him a drive thru penalty? And if thats the case the retrospective punsihment cannot be a drive thru, only a fine???

    Or is it not the same people who decide? In which case Whitmarsh was asking the wrong people for verification. That does sound unlikely.

    I dont think its a fit up but im equally sure that some people at the FIA dont like Maclaren, and especially dont like ROn Dennis. something to do with class probably.

  18. Although I am, and always was, in favour of Hamilton’s punishment: – this is the worst possible verdict for the appeal’s panel to deliver.

    A firm “he didn’t give the place back properly, and was right to be punished” or “the stewards got it wrong” would have ended the matter once and for all. As it is we’re left with no ruling on the legality of the move, and a simple “we’re always right.” to console ourselves.

    Now, we’re likely to have this debate raging for the rest of the season, and if Hamilton loses we won’t hear the end of it for long after.

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